More than $1 billion is up for grabs this week between the two big money games offered by the New York Lottery, Brad Maione, director of communications for the lottery, said Monday.

Tuesday night’s Mega Millions drawing has a top prize of $615 million and is expected to increase again before the 11 p.m. drawing, Maione said. The jackpot for Wednesday night’s Powerball drawing has grown to $550 million, Maione said.

Lottery sales have doubled.

Almost everyone is buying at least one ticket, Jen Dillworth, a clerk at the Hudson Stewart’s Shop, 13 Fairview Ave., said Monday.

“Incredible” is the word Catskill Stewart’s Manager Bill Moore used to describe ticket sales at his store on West Bridge Street. There has been a huge increase with hundreds of tickets sold daily, Moore said.

The last time there was a jackpot winner in Mega Millions was Sept. 15, when a winner won $120 million in Wisconsin, Maione said. Powerball’s last jackpot winner was also last September, when a New York resident won $94 million, Maione said.

Over the last four months, both jackpots have increased to where they are now.

Smokers Choice in Hudson sold more than 700 tickets Monday morning alone, manager Marisol Lopez said.

“There are a lot more people coming in to play the lottery. We’ve seen a lot of new faces,” Lopez said Monday.

Smokers Choice in Hudson had a $14,000 Take 5 winner last fall at their location.

Smokers Choice in Catskill has also seen increased sales as the jackpots have grown, Diana Price, manager of the store at 18 Boulevard Ave. said.

“We’re seeing a lot more faces, along with the regular customers the past few weeks,” Price said.

There was a $5,000 Win 4 winner a couple of weeks ago at the Catskill Smokers Choice, Price said.

Tuesday night’s $615 million prize is the fourth largest ever for Mega Millions. The largest was in October 2018, when a ticket worth more than $1.5 billion was sold in South Carolina, Maione said.

The largest Powerball prize ever was in January 2016, when three winning tickets shared a nearly $1.6 billion jackpot, Maione said.

Jackpot winners for both Mega Millions and Powerball have two choices on how they receive their payments. They can take the cash option in one lump sum or spread their winnings out over 30 years with annual payments, Maione said.

The cash option for Tuesday night’s Mega Millions drawing is $442 million. In Wednesday night’s Powerball drawing, $411 million will be up for grabs, Maione said.

The lottery has seen an increase in ticket sales across all the games as the jackpots have grown, Maione said.

“There are a lot of people that tend to wait until the prize gets this large and they are coming out now,” Maione said.

The odds of winning the top prize in Mega Millions or Powerball is 1 in 303 million, Maione said.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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